The first was ComEd’s Energy Efficiency Expo in early September. The purpose of the Expo was to educate businesses in the ComEd service territory about energy efficiency and incentive programs available for businesses that implement energy efficiency measures. This year the Expo was also sponsored by Nicor Gas, People’s Gas and North Shore Gas. It was inspiring to get a chance to talk to some of the businesses that are taking advantage of the incentive programs available – overwhelmingly, they seem excited about the programs and interested in learning how to better take advantage of the incentives available. The keynote speaker was fascinating. David Goldstein with the Natural Resources Defense Council spoke about how energy efficiency can be used to address the current economic troubles. He gave several examples of how the current recession could have been avoided or could be resolved by implementing energy efficiency measures. It was hopeful, and provided suggestions of things that could be done today to improve the economy. His ideas were a ray of sunlight in what seems to be daily gloomy economic news.
The second conference I attended was the Entrepreneurial Women’s Conference, sponsored by the Women’s Business Development Center. It’s the 25th anniversary of the center’s founding, and several of the speakers told stories about challenges they experienced when they first started their women-owned business, including being told they were working in a “man’s world” and they should go back to where they belong, taking notes and making coffee. The keynote speaker was new Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. He talked about his three big initiatives for the City of Chicago: better schools, safer streets, and an environment where businesses can thrive. He applauded all the women in the audience who were working on growing their businesses in Chicago.
What do these two events have in common? At both events, I was surrounded by people who are enthusiastic about their work and motivated to succeed. They chose to spend their day at an event to help them improve their business, or just provide encouragement to continue on the path they are going. I left both events feeling rejuvenated and excited to continue working with clients, developing strategies, and building on successes in my daily work.